September 15, 2011

Waldorf Inspired Math Activities are a Win!

You may have noticed my affinity for pretty Waldorf looking school activities.  No?  Like the water colored star charts here, the gnome math here?  Missed that?  Haha!  Well, I do love the Waldorf loveliness, but I have a bit of a beef with postponing certain skills the way they do.  Great for some, but not a match for our crew.  So I like to include Waldorf inspired activities when I can, but on our own family's time line rather than theirs.

Today the boys used our skip counting board for the very first time and it was so fun to watch them sort of discuss it with each other, try it out, reconfigure things, and try again.  It was a big win for both of them!  They can skip count their 2's and 3's with ease, but I thought it might be time to add a new dimension to the concept.  Today we did 2's, which is one of the more basic images on the board, making it an easy place to start.  Had they been actual Waldorf student, they wouldn't get this activity for a few more years, but they both seemed very able to conquer the task, and enjoyed the visual aspect of it, so I'm glad we didn't wait!

Hunter grasped the concept of the board, but lacked the dexterity to wrap the yarn with any great degree of success so he was more than happy to let Haven do that part while he sort of instructed on which nail to wrap next.   

Once they had it all wrapped up, they were to draw the pattern on their paper.  Using a ruler to make a straight line with proficiency was not easy for Haven, but here Hunter's fine motor skills were a match!  It's neat to see them excel in different areas and really take time to give each other tips or accept help without feeling offended.   They are quite the team!

Once the drawing was done, we listed some attributes of the 2's on the board.  5 sides, 5 points, shape called pentagon with penta from the root meaning 5.  I wrote it on Haven's for him to trace and Hunter was responsible for writing his notes on his own since he's older and working more diligently on his handwriting.

In the end, I gave them the marker crate and told them to retrace their lines and words and then fill in the space between the shapes they had made.  Hunter got to the filling in first and rather than just filling it in, he filled the space with his name and pictures of crocodiles!  I was impressed with his creativity.  He told Haven to do the same, but being his own man, Haven did his name once, stripes once and then solid colors.  They both turned out totally cute! 

I love this activity because it uses so many skills for one simple activity.  They created a concrete interpretation of a concept they have already mastered in a more abstract, memorizational sense.  They worked their fine motor skills in several ways with the wrapping of the yarn and using the rulers in their sketches.  They worked on handwriting, thought briefly about numeric roots, expressed some creativity, explored patterns and shapes, and worked as a team.  Love it!  And so did they! 

We'll see how the threes go.  The imagery there is far more complex, but really pretty too, so it will be interesting to see how they feel about it.  Hannah Jane's little head spun round and round when we first drew the threes.  I'll give them a day or two to let the twos visual sink in before we tackle it and I'll report back!

On a somewhat unrelated note, Haven tried Khan Academy for the first time today and really enjoyed it.  This was fun to watch too because Hunter was at the table working on his handwriting assignment while Haven was in the sunroom floor on Khan Academy and Hunter kept saying, "You know, Haven, it's okay if you get one wrong because you're still learning."  Then he'd lean over to Hannah Jane who was coloring the Mayan calendar and whisper, "I don't get them wrong much, because I'm really good at math, but I don't want Haven to know that because he'll feel bad."  Hannah Jane was cracking up and looking at me with the look parents give one another when they are indulging their child's pride even though they know it's ridiculous.  She's so grown up in what she appreciates about her brothers.  And she was so funny nodding at Hunter's confidence and then shooting me that look.   Hunter showed such love in the way he encouraged Haven without boasting (to Haven, anyway). 

So it was a good math day at the Christison house! 

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